To the editor:
In my earlier letter I did not say that Thomas Paine was a Christian. Early in his life he was a member of an organized Christian group (Church of God, I believe) and moved gradually away from that so that by the end of his life he had declared he was a deist in the “Age of Reason.” As far as I remember, he had not declared himself a deist at the time of the revolution and had written on several issues within the Christian community. I think that many if not most of his writings were influenced by his early association with Christianity.
As an example, in his discourse on “The Study Of God,” Paine said, “It has been the error of the schools to teach astronomy, and all the other sciences and subjects of natural philosophy, as accomplishments only; whereas they should be taught theologically, or with reference to the Being who is the author of them: for all the principles of science are of divine origin. Man cannot make, or invent, or contrive principles. He can only discover them; and he ought to look through the discovery to the Author.” (You really ought to read the whole speech.)
This is very much in line with Christian thinking and is the example I was thinking of when I made my original statement.